Neural cell transplantation, a new therapeutic strategy for replacing injured neural components and obtaining functional recovery, has shown beneficial effects in animal models. Use of this strategy in human patients, however, requires that a number of serious issues be addressed, including ethics, immunorejection, and the therapeutic time window within which the procedure will be effective. Bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells (BM-MNC) are attractive for transplantation because they can be used as an autograft, can be easily collected within a short time period, and do not have to be cultured. In a rat model of spinal cord injury (SCI), we transplanted BM-MNC at 1 h after SCI at Th 8-9 by injecting them into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and investigated the effect of this on neurologic function. In the acute stage of injury, we found a neuroprotective antiapoptotic effect, with an elevated concentration of hepatocyte growth factor in CSF. At 1 week after transplantation, the Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan locomotor score had increased significantly over its baseline value. In the chronic stage of injury, we observed suppressed cavity formation and functional improvement. We conclude that transplantation of BM-MNC after SCI has a remarkable neuroprotective effect in the acute stage of injury, suppressing cavity formation, and contributing to functional recovery. Our results suggest that transplantation of BM-MNC via the CSF is a potentially effective means of enhancing functional recovery after SCI in humans.
- Bone marrow-derived mononuclear cell
- Cell transplantation
- Cerebrospinal fluid
- Spinal cord injury